Mon, Oct 24, 2016 | updated 07:04 AM IST

High time SC should strike off triple talaq: Women activist

Updated: Sep 02, 2016 18:26 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept. 2 (ANI): Women rights activist Abha Singh on Friday said the time has come when the Supreme Court should do away with this defective procedure of triple talaq and uphold the right to equality and right to life, which is enshrined in the fundamental rights of the Constitution.

Singh told ANI whatever objections the Muslim law board is making are absolutely wrong

"Why can it not be rewritten when practices like sati have been struck down? When India has taken strong measures to liberate women from child marriage and practices like sati then why would not married Muslim women be liberated from this derogatory practice called triple talaq. Here there is right to religion, but there are reasonable restrictions imposed by the Constitution on grounds of public order, morality and health. And is this morality that you kick a woman by saying triple talaq, when Sharia and Hadith itself state that the gap of triple talaq has at least to be one menstrual cycle each," Abha Singh told ANI.

"When the Middle-east countries do not practice this triple talaq procedure then this triple talaq in wrong form cannot be practiced and made applicable in India just because in Shah Bano case, the Rajiv Gandhi government took a back foot. I think that is why the Muslim law board is emboldened to make such statements. However, Article 21 which is right to life and right to life means right to live with dignity and in such cases a woman's dignity is violated in such a derogatory and demeaning way when she is told triple talaq and divorced," she added.

Stating that the objections which the Muslim law board has raised are without any merit, Singh said, "It can be challenged because part three it is fundamental rights. You may have Article 19 which talks of your freedom, which talks of your religious freedom. But then there is something called 19(2) which says there can be restrictions of public order morality and health on religion, minorities have a right to practice their religion. Protect their religion, but still the Constitution is above it."

"Article 21 is the keystone and it overrules all other articles. So, does Article 14 equality before law and because married Muslim women are denied equality before the law, that is why the part three what they are talking of is null and void, it cannot overrule article 14 which says equality before law and equal protection of laws and here married Muslim women are not getting equal protection of laws like women of other religions," she added.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Friday told the Supreme Court that "personal laws cannot be re-written in the name of social reforms."

Submitting its response in connection with the ongoing matter on the 'triple talaq' issue, the AIMPLB said, "Personal laws cannot be challenged as violative of Part III of the Constitution."

"When serious discords develop in a marriage and husband wants to get rid of his wife, legal compulsions and time consuming judicial extreme cases husband may resort to illegal criminal ways of getting rid of her by murdering her. In such situations Triple Talaq is a better recourse," AIMPLB told the apex court.

"Marriage is a contract in which both parties are not physically equal. Male is stronger and female is a weaker sex. Securing separation through court takes a long time deters prospects of remarriage," it added.

The AIMPLB further said that polygamy as a social practice is not for gratifying men's lust, but it is a social need.

"Muslim women have right to divorce under Khula practice. Issues of Muslim Personal Law are raised in the Supreme Court are for Parliament for decide. The Uniform Civil code is a directive principle and not enforceable. The personal laws are protected by Article 25, 26 and 29 of the Constitution as they are acts done in pursuance of a religion," it added.

The apex court had last week issued notice to the Central Government on the plea of a Muslim woman challenging the Constitutional validity of 'triple talaq' to end a marriage.

The petitioner Noor Jahan has sought a declaration from the apex court, saying that Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, was unconstitutional as it violated fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 (equality), 15 (non-discrimination), 21 (life) and 25 (religion) of the Constitution.

In her petition, Jahan has asked whether an arbitrary and unilateral divorce through triple talaq can deprive the wife of her rights in her matrimonial home as also her right to have the custody of her children.

A batch of petitions is being heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and notices have already been issued to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and others. (ANI)